BLACKBURN Cathedral hosted the National Estate Church Network Conference last Monday, which was attended by around 100 people who have a passion for sharing God’s love, in words and deeds, with people who are often at the margins of society.

At the conference, the Rt Rev Philip North, the Bishop of Burnley, said: “Every effective renewal movement in the whole history of the Church has begun not with the richest and most influential, but with the poor and the marginalised.

The Bishop added: “Jesus said, ‘I have come to proclaim good news to the poor’ in the synagogue at Nazareth. And when Jesus said ‘poor’ he meant ‘poor’, and he demonstrated that in the way he lived the rest of his life.

Bishop Philip continued: “In order to found a movement to transform the world, he called not the wealthy, the articulate or the powerful but a ragtag, chaotic bunch of third-rate fishermen, busted tax collectors and rebels.

“He chose the poor and the weak and the powerless, he chose those who knew their utter dependency on God because they quite literally had nothing else to depend on and with these disciples he blew apart the whole meaning of what it is to be human.”

The Diocese of Blackburn has recently received funding from the Church Commissioners to help with resourcing two community-based urban evangelists, to live and work in both the Roman Road and Over Darwen areas.

They will also work with the Rev Tim Horobin and his team based at St James Lower Darwen to mentor people drawn from our more deprived parishes across the county of Lancashire who are wanting to make even more of a difference in their communities by bringing God’s love to their friends and neighbours all week; Monday through Sunday.

Regardless of where we live, quite often one of our weaknesses as gathered congregations on a Sunday morning is to forget that we are only meeting with our church family for maybe one or two hours a week, whereas we interact with our families, neighbours, friends and work colleagues for over 100 hours a week.

How often do we stop and ask our fellow worshippers, what will you be doing this time tomorrow (ie on a Monday morning) and how can we pray for you as you live out your life as a disciple of Christ?

Dave Champness, Vision Co-ordinator, The Church of England in Lancashire